The Generous Jefferson Bartleby Jones (1991) is a delightfully quirky children’s picture book, written by Forman Brown and illustrated by Leslie Trawin. Outrageous rhymes and illustrations work together to communicate the story of Jefferson Bartleby Jones who has an unfortunately lengthy name but a fabulous family. He spends three days of the week living with his dads, and the remaining four days with his mom. Continue reading
William’s Doll (1972), written by Charlotte Zolotow and illustrated by William Pene Du Bois, is the story of a little boy named William who wants a doll to nurture like he will nurture his future children.
The text opens: “William wanted a doll.” All the ways William will care for his doll are then discussed and mimed. In the first image, William is alone, a closed door behind him, as he cradles an imaginary doll in his arms. In subsequent images, the door has opened, and his brother and male neighbor watch William perform his nurturing routine before rudely interrupting to call him a sissy. Continue reading
In Barbara Danish’s The Dragon and the Doctor (1971), Dr. Judy, a kind doctor with brown skin and curly hair, parties with a bunch of strange animals after helping a friendly dragon. The dragon stores objects, including roller blades, in her tail. Dr. Judy unzips the dragon’s tail, makes her a balloon bag to keep her things in, and is rewarded with a party invitation. The party is full of quirky animal characters doodled by Danish. At the party Dr. Judy helps Lucy, a yellow animal (perhaps a hedgehog) who has chicken pox. Dr. June and her dino friend race Lucy home, where she is cared or by two moms. Continue reading
Bonjour, Mr. Satie (1991) by Tomie dePaola is the story of two children, Rosalie and Conrad, their uncle, Mr. Satie, and his “companion,” Ffortusque Ffollet, Esq.
When the two world travelers visit their family, they bring Paris to America through French cuisine, a smattering of French words, and enchanting stories of the artists, authors, and other characters they befriend in Paris. Continue reading
Amy Asks a Question… Grandma – What’s a Lesbian? (1996) was written by Jeanne Arnold and illustrated by Barbaba Lindquist, partners and co-founders of the book’s publisher, Mother Courage Press.
Amy, a young girl with lesbian grandmothers, is called a lesbian at school when her and some girl friends hug after winning a soccer game. Amy is confused and later asks her mother what “lesbian” means. The girl’s mother brings her to Grandma Bonnie who provides a detailed and celebratory description of what being a lesbian means to her. Continue reading
Published by Candlewick Press in 1994, Mr. Pam Pam and the Hullabazoo is written by Trish Cooke and illustrated by Patrice Aggs. The story is told in the first-person from the point of view of a child who Mr. Pam Pam visits with his baby. Mr. Pam Pam is a long limbed goofy Black man who garners giggles from the narrator and and the narrator’s mom with exaggerated movements and silly jokes. He has a running joke with the narrator involving a character named Hullabazoo. The young boy isn’t sure if Hullabazoo is real until one day when he shows up at the child’s house dressed clownishly. Continue reading
Originally published in Denmark, Jenny Lives with Eric and Martin, written by Susanne Bosche and translated from Danish by Louis Mackay, was published by London’s Gay Men’s Press in 1983. The wordy text, printed in green font, is accompanied by realistic photos of two men and their daughter, Jenny. Jenny’s biological mother lives near the couple and visits frequently. The family is depicted completing everyday tasks from cooking and cleaning to organizing a birthday party. Continue reading